Last week I was honored to be invited to co-facilitate with Eliaichi Kimaro (Eli) of A Lot Like You in a session titled “Colleges, Conferences, & Lectures, Oh My!” This was offered at Docforest, hosted by Seattle Documentary Association. Their sleep-away style camp is an inspiring weekend of “high tech talk in a low-tech setting.” We were surrounded by a sense of kinship among doc filmmakers and delicious food all weekend. The retreat featured a keynote of Adnaan Wasey, the Director of POV Digital and POV Hackathon.
Our session had over a dozen attendees, many who already had colleges asking for screenings and others just getting started with festivals. The takeaways we suggested: start by making a list of three target academic fields/college departments who would be interested in your film and five cities where you would like to bring your film.
We also dug into the complexities of how to set price-points, timing for rolling out your film (educational vs. festivals,) and how to find an educational distributor. Eli and I coincidentally both went to Peter Broderick for distribution consultation services and ended up with Collective Eye Films for educational distribution. Neither of us found it a priority to create curriculum to pair with our films.
My own takeway is that I want to follow-up with Samara Lectures. This is the company that secures all of Eli’s gigs and does a lot of the legwork for her. I am very interested to see which parts of the process I am missing, where I might be reinventing the wheel, and how I can help spread this model to other filmmakers who would like to get paid to travel and show their films on the college market.